Poole Plaques – How Unfortunate was Monmouth?

alcatraz-plaqueThe number of information plaques in Poole has multiplied recently, giving our next speaker, Steve Roberts, quite a challenge in tackling the subject at his talk on 15th February. The latest crop of bright blue discs adds to the many types and styles of plaques already in existence. In fact the more you look, the more you find. They are mounted on walls and buildings, set into the pavement, on posts and plinths, indoors and outdoors. Some are made of stone, some of metal, ceramic tiles, wood or plastic. A purist might wish that they were all of one style but I think that would be a shame because the style of the plaque says as much about the time they were put up as the subject they are commemorating.

welcome-signSome are consciously antique in style, like the one recording the visit of Charles II in 1665 or the one on the old library. Others are contemporary like the tiled ‘Welcome to Poole’ signs and the decorative plaques round the walls of the Civic Centre which evoke the 1930s. The oldest one I could find is the one on the Guildhall which presumably dates from 1761 and is very much of its period which we are told was during ‘the mayoralty of George Wefton Efquire’. One or two are hard to read like the Sea Music sign which I believe is due to be splendidly restored.  The Overlord plaque on the Custom House is classic and restrained while the 1994 plaque further down the Quay also commemorating D-Day is abstract and artistic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wording on the signs is also diverse and interesting. Some are technical ‘. . note the eye-bolt terminals’ or rather convoluted ‘. . . which formerly ran through this point in a direction slightly north of west to the shore.’ There are unexpected nuggets of information: ‘. . . these 83 foot boats, made entirely of wood . .’ or ‘. . . the crew was taken by horse brake to their station at Sandbanks, which is now the site of the Royal Motor Yacht Club’. One plaque is in Latin and another quotes from a document dating from 1579. Some are poetical: ‘. . . a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace’ or religious ‘. . . suffered six months’ imprisonment for conscience sake’. Some express themselves in a way we would not choose today: ‘. . . devoted to the use of the poor for 500 years’ and some allow a little partisan feeling to creep in: ‘King Charles II and unfortunate Duke of Monmouth . . .’.

Mixed bag or not, the streets of Poole are richer for their plaques and I am looking forward to finding out more about them.

Jenny

 

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Sea Music Double Bill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASea Music, Poole’s remarkable and sometimes controversial 35 ft. sculpture by Sir Anthony Caro, is now 25 years old so it seems a suitable time to take stock. With the help of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Sea Music Project has been set up to assess, renovate and celebrate the work. One question is how the metal sculpture has fared physically after 25 years of salty winds and sea spray. Can the base and upper platforms of the sculpture be improved along the lines that Sir Anthony himself proposed? What has Sea Music meant to local people over the years and how best can Poole’s association with the work be celebrated? You can find out more about these and other questions at the talk by Melinda McCheyne, the Project Manager (Wednesday 18th January 7.30pm at Poole Museum).

sm-display-2Also not to be missed is the exhibition on Sea Music at the Museum (Floors 1 and 2) which is running until 22nd January. The Floor 2 gallery deals with how the sculpture was made, the involvement of local people, its physical condition and plans for the future. There is also a filmed discussion featuring arts journalist, Alastair Sooke about the creation and significance of the work, revealing, among other details, how Caro was making small changes even as the sculpture was being erected on the Quay. In the Floor 1 gallery is a lively display of works created by fine art, photography and costume students from Bournemouth and Poole College, taking Sea Music as their inspiration.

sm-costumePoole is lucky to boast a work by such a distinguished artist and one which was designed specifically for the site. Having reached its quarter century, has Sea Music earned its place on the Quay and in the history of the town?

Quiz solution

How far did you get with the answers to the quiz? Here is the solution and I hope it all works!

Connections

  1. Bus routes from Poole and their destinations.
  2. Four Marys: Mary Anning (fossil hunter) / Lady Mary Bankes (defender of Corfe Castle) / Mary Llewellin (first female mayor of Poole) / Mary Spencer Watson (sculptor of Dunshay).
  3. Inaccurate place names: Isle of Purbeck (not an island) / Maiden Castle (not a castle) / Luckford lake (not a lake) / Nine Barrow Down (has more than 9 barrows).
  4. Shopping centres: Castlepoint / Dolphin Centre / Sovereign Centre / Brewery Square.

conns-sequs

Sequences

  1. Christopher Spurrier, 1816 (owners of Upton House in reverse date order).
  2. Crawford (Tarrant villages in sequence eg. Tarrant Rawston, Tarrant Rushton etc.).
  3. Falkland Square (eg.) (Places and buildings named after national events in successive centuries).
  4. Picture of house boat (eg.) (Market Street / Street light / Lighthouse / House ?).

Connecting Wall

  1. GORSE DODDER LING BRACKEN (heathland plants)
  2. THICKFURZE HAM HAVEN TOTTENHAM (old forms of local place names: Heckford, Hamworthy, Sandbanks, Tatnam).
  3. FLAKE JIGGER QUINTAL TRAIN (Newfoundland salt-cod trade terms: a flake was a platform for drying cod, a jigger was a weighted fish hook, a quintal was a measure of salt fish, about a hundredweight and train was train oil or cod liver oil.
  4. WOOD POUND HENGIST BAD (add  …bury to get four ancient sites, Woodbury, Poundbury etc.)

wall

Missing Vowels

  1. Mottos: Who’s Afear’d? / Ad Morem Villae de Poole / Pulchritudo et Salubritas / For Fidelity and Freedom.
  2. Live entertainment: The air show / Poole Pirates / Beach polo / Boo Bamboo.
  3. Reading matter: Daily Echo / (A) good book / Poole Advertiser / social media.
  4. Poole pub crawl: Angel / Butler and Hops / Bermuda Triangle / Blue Boar.

Jenny

Easy Peasy or Google Buster? Clues by order of the Quiz Wizard

WizardDid you find the Christmas quiz ridiculously easy or fiendishly hard? I must say that by the time it was compiled I no longer had any idea which it might be. Anyway, I have had notification from the Chief Christmas Quiz Wizard that I must issue some clues to help anyone whose quizzing faculties have been weakened by turkey, pudding, chocolate or alcoholic beverages. So here are the clues and in line with the pantomime season they are of course in rhyme. Sorry about that!

  • My connections to unravel
  • Choose a public form of travel.
  • Try the shops in each location.
  • Give four ladies admiration,
  • But these local places rated
  • You might find not quite as stated.
  • Sequences their clues deliver
  • Following the winding river,
  • Old events commemorated,
  • Owners of a mansion, dated,
  • Phrases over-lapped deduced
  • And the final clue produced.
  • In the wall, four names discover
  • And their modern forms recover.
  • All around, four more are growing
  • With some salt-cod terms worth knowing.
  • Use the final four remaining –
  • Bury-ed, ancient sites obtaining.

Enlightened or further mystified? Some or all answers to Jenny at j.oliver48@btinternet.com . Answers will be supplied next week. Happy New Year.

Jenny

 

 

Dorset & Poole ‘Only Connect’ Quiz 2016

dolphin-centre-father-christmasOnce again it’s time for you to rack your brains on our Christmas quiz (but not as much as I’ve racked mine trying to compile it!). Glory, and maybe a little prize as well, awaits anyone who can come up with a correct solution, so why not have a go between the Christmas festivities? Answers will be released in January.

Connections – Can you resolve these local clues and say what connects them?

  1. Kinson 14 / Bournemouth 16 / Lytchett Matravers 10 / Bournemouth 32
  2. M. A., hunter / M. B., defender / M. L., mayor / M. S-W., artist
  3. Isle of Purbeck / Maiden Castle / Luckford Lake / Nine Barrow Down
  4. connections

Sequences – Three clues: what should come next and why?

  1. Poole Corporation 1961 / Llewellin 1901 / Doughty 1828 / ?
  2. Rawston / Rushton / Keyneston / ?
  3. 17th – Royal Oak Tavern / 18th – Port Mahon Castle Inn / 19th – Waterloo Road / ?
  4. sequences

Connecting wall – Can you sort the words into 4 groups and say what connects the words in each group?sequences

Missing vowels – Identify the words or phrases by replacing the missing vowels.

  1. Mottos:     WHS FRD / DMR MVL LDPL / PLCH RTDTS LBRTS / FRF DLT    YNDF RDM
  2. Live entertainment:     THRS HW / PLP RTS / BCHPL / BBMB
  3. Reading matter:          DL YCH / GDBK / PLD VRT SR / SC LMD
  4. Poole pub crawl:         NGL / BTL RN DHPS / BRM DTRN GL / BLBR

Good luck and have a happy Christmas.  Jenny

Poole in Flames

galleyIt was a September morning, just before daybreak in the year 1405, when five war galleys, three Spanish, two French, slid silently into Poole harbour and crept forward through the darkness towards the sleeping town. In the crowded space below decks, crossbowmen and men-at-arms nervously checked their weapons. All were practised fighters, masters of the lightning terror raid and quick retreat. Their captain, Don Pero Niño, Count of Buelno, was a kinsman and subject of the King of Castile, a charismatic, bold, if sometimes rash leader and an excellent fighter. Commanding the French galleys was Messire Charles de Savoisy, a knight formally in the service of Charles VI of France but currently out of favour at court and seeking his fortune at sea. He usually provided a note of caution in their councils. Meeting at La Rochelle, the two leaders had decided to join forces and raid along the south coast of England. From Cornwall to Purbeck they had already left a trail of dead men and burnt towns behind them.

old-church-towerWord had spread and every man on board the galleys that morning knew that the town they were about to attack was the home of ‘Arripay’, the English pirate whose raids on Spanish coastal towns and attacks on shipping were notorious. The knowledge added a spice of revenge to their aggression. As the light began to come up, Poole came into view and the raiders noted the absence of defensive walls. The only building of note was ‘a fair tower with a round leaden roof shaped like a cup’. It looked like an easy target but Messire Charles warned of the shoals and sandbanks that would make it difficult for the ships to get close to shore and the many men-at-arms and bowmen that lived in the town. He refused to involve the French galleys in the attack.

Don Pero Niño had no such doubts. He ordered the ships to anchor a little distance from the town and launched the longboats to ferry men ashore. Speed was now essential. As soon as enough men were landed, they ran towards the houses, swords drawn, torches flaring. One minute, all was silent, the next, pandemonium broke out. Smoke and flames rose as the thatch roofs were fired. Men were rudely awakened and staggered to their doors to find a full-scale, deadly raid in progress. Alerted by the clamour, a messenger rode desperately away across the heath to summon help.

Rear wall of Town Cellars c. 1300

Rear wall of Town Cellars c. 1300

In the first surprise of the attack, the raiders had everything their own way. They were able to force entry to the houses, loot and burn and kill anyone who opposed them. Then the Poole men rallied and came rushing out to fight the raiders as they retired towards the boats, loaded with whatever plunder they had managed to seize. Messire Charles had been right to say that many Poole men were trained to arms. In fact some of them had probably taken part in such raids themselves. Seeing his men retreat, Pero Niño ordered more to land, led by his cousin, Fernando Niño. They took a stand just beyond the buildings and then, under orders to leave their plunder and destroy the town by fire, began to force the defenders slowly backwards. Overwhelmed, the Poole men took refuge in a large store building, which they defended fiercely until the Castilians forced an entrance and they had to escape by the back. Inside, the raiders found ‘all manner of arms, bolts, rigging, sails and all furnishings of ships-of-war’ and helped themselves to as much as they could carry, before setting the building ablaze.

As the raiders were boarding the galleys with their booty, reinforcements for the defenders arrived in the form of men-at-arms and longbowmen on foot and horseback. Setting up house doors as protection against the Castilian crossbow bolts, they quickly took a stand on higher ground near the boats and began to attack the raiders with volleys of arrows. Many were hit and some of the leather jerkins of the Castilians were ‘all stuck with arrows’. Seeing that the fight was in the balance, Pero Niño came ashore and managed to reach his standard bearer who was in some danger, as the raiders had retreated under the strong English attack.

Longbow versus crossbow (Froissart)

Longbow versus crossbow (Froissart)

It was now that Pero Niño’s leadership skills proved vital. Ordering the trumpets to be sounded, he rallied his men and advanced against the English with the shout of ‘Santiago! Santiago!’ (St. James) while the defenders also shouted for St. James, the patron saint of their church. The battle was fierce and many were killed or taken prisoner. As it raged, Messire Charles came shore with ‘many knights and gentlemen in armour’ to support the Castilians if needed. At last the English retreated a little distance, leaving the battleground so thickly strewn with arrows that it was impossible to walk without treading on them and men could pick them up in handfuls. The two sides had reached a stand off whereby the raiders broke off the fight and the defenders watched them board the boats without further attack.

Many men must have died that day but we only know the names of two of them, a Castilian of Messire Charles’ galley called Juan de Murcia, and on the English side, a brother of ‘ArriPay’ (Harry Paye), the Poole pirate. The raiders rested, treated their wounded and toasted a victory over the English before sailing on eastwards. The aftermath for the people of Poole was much more traumatic. They could say that they had acquitted themselves well but there were wounded to treat, dead men and women to mourn. The damage inflicted on their town was terrible and it would be many years before Poole would fully recover.

Plaque Civic Centre, Poole

Plaque Civic Centre, Poole

There is no record in the town archives about the raid of 1405. The above account is taken mainly from a Spanish chronicle on the life of Don Pero Niño by his standard bearer, Gutierre Diaz de Gamez (published in English as ‘The Unconquered Knight’). The chronicle leaves many questions unanswered, such as where the battle was fought, where the reinforcements came from, how many people were killed or captured and how serious was the damage to the town. The chronicle says that the town was ‘altogether burnt’ but this is unlikely to be true. The large store building mentioned is almost certainly the Town Cellars on the Quay, the back wall of which pre-dates the time of the raid and must have survived it. The fact that the defenders were able to escape from the back of the building suggests that the raiders did not necessarily penetrate very far into the streets of the town and the worst damage was probably concentrated near the shore. The reinforcements probably came from Canford, the manorial centre and one of the few places nearby where knights and fighting men might be found.

The front wall of the Town Cellars, rebuilt after the raid

The front wall of the Town Cellars, rebuilt after the raid

During the following century Poole did recover, rebuilt its damaged and burnt out buildings, constructed town defences, was created the Port of the Staple (customs port) for Dorset and went on to more prosperous times. Harry Paye, who was not at home at the time of the raid, lived to carry out several more raids of his own.

Jenny

 

Lost castles, ancient sites and old masters

LulworthDorset is full of historic houses, towns and villages, but beneath them often lie the traces of older settlements now lost and forgotten. Researching and investigating these ancient sites is the aim of the Dorset Castles Research Group, which started by concentrating on early Norman castles and then expanded its interest to prehistoric field systems and vanished manor houses. To kick off the Poole Museum Society 2016/7 season of talks, we are delighted to welcome Roger Hills who will be telling us about the Group’s project in East Lulworth to rediscover the 17th century ornamental gardens, the 12th century castle and the lost village of East Lulworth itself. This settlement which went back to Saxon times was demolished at the end of the 18th century to make way for the parkland estate of the Weld family. ‘East Lulworth: 1000 years of history’ is on Wednesday 21st September at 7.30pm and visitors are very welcome to come along.

bronze-axe-from-hoard This autumn we also have two special Saturday afternoon events. On Saturday 1st October at 2.30pm, author David Leadbetter will be introducing us to ‘Prehistoric Times in Purbeck’, exploring ancient sites and features in an corner of Dorset which has known both rural tranquillity and intensive industry. Based on a very varied geology, Purbeck’s resources of shale, clay and stone have been exploited by man from at least the Bronze Age. It is rich in ancient settlements, traces of industrial workings, burial mounds and some prehistoric features whose purpose remains mysterious to us today. Come and find out more from a speaker with a wide knowledge and great enthusiasm for this special area. All welcome.

ElephantOur second Saturday talk highlights the vital role of drawing in artistic practice over the centuries. This autumn, Poole Museum is hosting an exceptional exhibition of drawings from the British Museum’s collection by some of the world’s most famous artists, Rembrandt, Dürer, Picasso and Michelangelo through to Cézanne, Rodin and Bridget Riley. In her talk, ‘Lines of thought: Drawing dissected’, curator Isabel Seligman from the British Museum will explain the inspiration behind the exhibition and how a programme of workshops for London art schools influenced its curation. The talk is on Saturday 15th October at 2.30 and booking is essential. Visitors are welcome and at the risk of revisiting an old advertising cliché, anyone interested is advised to book early to avoid disappointment!

All three talks will be held in the meeting room on the 5th floor of the Museum. For full details including booking, and for the rest of the season’s programme, see Forthcoming Society Events.